BY JOANNE FRIEND | WRITER
“I want every little girl who is told she is bossy, to be told she has leadership skills.”
– Sheryl Sandberg
If you are a female and you want to be a leader, guess what, the first thing you will be labelled as is a bully or a bitch. If you are a male, you are labelled as assertive, a leader and someone to listen to that has a lot to offer. Oh yea, also as a male you get more pay, more promotions, be under less scrutiny in your job and you will most often get the credit for the work that others have put in.
You don’t believe me? Well let’s look at what happens in a job interview. What I’m telling you is fact. I have been in some of these meetings and have been told by people involved in selection panels some of what goes on.
I was at a selection panel interviewing a number of applicants for a position in the office of this big company and my role was to vet the applicant’s security wise. Before we even started doing the face to face interview, we were given each applicants file with their resume and a passport picture. The first thing the males on the panel looked at in the files, were the pictures, with the first comments were being about looks and breasts. From there, they choose which order to bring them into the room. The order was ugly ones, then over weight, then good-looking and big breasted next.
You see, they weren’t interested in the qualifications or if there security was up to scratch, just ‘we want good eye candy around the office’. That’s what you have to start with, so you are behind the 8 ball.
So, you want to be a leader, you want to change the world? Well sisters of the world, what have you got to offer that attracts people to want to follow you and call you their leader? Will they follow you to hell and back when things start to go wrong? Let me share some examples and see how you stack up against these women.
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
– Anne Frank (1929-1945)
During her stay in the Netherlands while hiding from the German forces, Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl, was gifted a diary by her father when she was 13. However, her diary was published after her death in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15. The diary served as a unique eye-witness account of life during Holocaust (mass murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II) and it became one of the world’s most read books.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
– Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
Mother Teresa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner (1979), aimed at looking after those who had nobody to look after them through her own order ‘The Missionaries of Charity’. She worked tirelessly towards her goal until her ill-health – that included two heart attacks, pneumonia and malaria – forced her to step down in March 1997, following which she took her last breath in September 1997.
“Democracy is the best revenge.”
– Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007)
She was the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan (1993-1996) and the first woman to head a Muslim state. During her leadership, she ended military dictatorship in her country and fought for women rights. She was assassinated in a suicide attack in 2007.
“Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.”
– Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)
Amelia Earhart was the first woman to ever fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932 and she became the first female pilot in 1935 after flying solo from Hawaii to California. She embarked upon her lifelong dream of flying across the world in 1937, however, her flight went missing on that trip and she was never seen again.
“I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.”
– Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
Also know as “the first lady of civil rights”, the African-American Rosa Parks was a pioneer of civil rights in a racially segregated Alabama in the 1950’s. In 1955, she refused to give away her seat to a white passenger in a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, thereby, disobeying the bus driver’s orders. This act of hers sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott that crippled the state capital’s public transport system.
“Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.”
– Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)
Indira Gandhi served India as the Prime Minister for 15 years. She paved the way for democracy in India until her assassination in 1984.
Six women out of hundreds even thousands that have made changes in the world. What do they have in common?
- A dream to make a difference;
- Determination to stay the course;
- Goals on how they were going to get there;
- Discipline in staying focused, not allowing outward distractions from the world, people’s comments or the media to change their course; and
- Belief in themselves and not willing to give up the dream.
See us as females are easily distracted, we are thrown around by our emotions, and we give up our dreams for others. Men don’t do that, they know what they want. If you want to be with them, YOU give up your dream, YOU stay home, YOU clean house, YOU look after the children.
I know it seems hard, but that’s leadership. Not everyone, including males, should be a leader! If being a wife or a mother is what you want and you’re happy to stay home then by all means do it and don’t have regrets later. But, if you want to make difference in the world, then be prepared to pay the price.
As a woman, I am the founder, owner and operator of a large Security Company in the Middle East. I have men working for me, as well as women. It can be done, but you have to work at it and pay the cost.